Kristi Toliver tied her career high with 29 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 45 seconds remaining, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 93-86 in the opening game of the WNBA Western Conference semifinals on Thursday night.
Toliver was presented with the league's Most Improved Player award before the game.
Candace Parker, runner-up for the league's MVP award, added 25 points and Alana Beard had 18 for the second-seeded Sparks, who improved to 17-1 at home this season with their 11th consecutive victory.
The game was played at Galen Center, Southern California's home arena, because of a scheduling conflict at Staples Center.
Becky Hammons led the third-seeded Silver Stars with 19 points. Game 2 of the best-of-three series will be played Saturday at Freeman Coliseum due to a scheduling conflict at the AT&T Center.